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Turning Back the Pages

100 Years Ago - January 1913

John Smith’s house lives on

John G. Smith will be remembered in Warrensburgh history as the man who first brought electricity to the Queen Village, close to the turn of the 20th century. In 1893 he started building his electric light plant on the shore of the Schroon River in the heart of town and by 1894 the first privileged few were able to partake in a luxury that their forefathers could never have imagined. Not too many years passed before he had an 800-light machine operating and messy kerosene lamps were regulated to the attic as the town luxuriated in the dawn of a new era. Incandescent lamps lighted Warrensburgh village streets. By comparison, it was 1910 before Bolton received electricity.

Modern day explorers

Delbert Chambers, a valued member of the present day Warrensburgh Historical Society, has been exploring the old riverside property off Electric Avenue where John G. Smith had his electric light plant. This property was originally the site of the B.P. Burhans leather tanning mill and today the land is owned by the Warrensburgh Historical Society. Chambers and I puzzled over a historical reference that says, “A new building was erected farther down the river and a flume several hundred feet long was constructed to convey water from the dam to the wheel pit in the new structure.” We don’t know where this was, and any information from readers will be appreciated.

Smith’s dream home endures

As I detailed last week, John G. Smith was determined to build an ideal home for his bride, and the dwelling, at 46 Hudson St., is now a grand, historic landmark.

Present day resident Mike Lawler tells me that Walt Herman, a South Main St. store owner here in the late 1950’s, was once employed with a crew of men building the house. The cellar walls were completed as early as Oct. 1909 by Norman Stone. In 1913 A.L. Mix, the village photographer, had a sign above his shop that read, “You’ll see Mix’s sign above the door, a pleasant, warm retreat, just opposite to John G. Smith’s, north side of Hudson Street.”

Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at jhadden1@nycap.rr.com or 623-2210.

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